David Trueba is a Spanish director, writer, journalist and regular author of the El País and El Periódico de Catalunya newspapers. He has won six Goya awards for the movies “Soldados de Salamina”, “Madrid 1987”, “Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados” and the documentary “Si me borrara el viento lo que yo canto”. We asked him for his opinion about the future of print media, posed a question if digital media would be able to completely supplant paper newspapers and magazines, and also found out his personal opinion about the digitalization of world journalism and culture:
“All print media today are widely represented on the Internet – it is a fact. But there are still people who like to leaf through real newspapers and magazines. This is a minority compared to those who prefer to receive information on the Internet – it’s true. As is true, what most people prefer is Spotify rather than live music or opera. How would you prefer to listen to Traviata? Sitting at home in a comfortable armchair? Or paying 70 euros for a ticket and going to the Bolshoi Theater, for example?
This is a matter of personal preference. In the same way as in the case of information sources – some prefer digital ones, some still read the media on paper. This is a matter of habit, it is the most difficult to explain. And we must respect the fetishism inherent in some people, even if they are a minority.
Our society is much more complicated than we think. We have long been living two lives – real and virtual. A good example is sex: in the modern world, ideas about it have changed a lot. Long-distance or virtual sex has appeared – some people prefer masturbation to real sexual relationships. And there are more and more of these people.
The question is what is more important and more necessary for our society today? You are right – most members of modern society receive information by reading the news on their smartphone. A smartphone today is an integral attribute of our life, the most important way of communication. And this is natural. In the smartphone we get the so-called “quick information”, we learn about the facts, what happened just a minute ago.
But what do we do if we want to know more? For details, investigations, research, and analytics, we turn to specialized media. Without such analytical articles, information would be incomplete and people would receive only a “slice” of information, e.g.truncated information. And analytics is not the type of information that can be read on a smartphone. On a computer screen is another matter. But not everyone uses
computers or laptops in cafes or in other public places where traditional print media are available.
What digital media lacks? In my opinion, they lack more personalization. Real people work on news and articles and their names are very important. The readers must know who writes for them. This is a matter of trust in the source of information. But authors and sources are not always indicated in digital media.
Digital media should also constantly work to improve the quality of content and not be limited to short titles about what, where and when.
If you ask my personal opinion, I would say that I prefer paper media. This is a matter of habit. I also do not associate print media with environmental issues. I do not think that the use of paper for the production of newspapers and magazines greatly affects the environmental situation on the planet. I am much more concerned about the theme of global warming, air pollution in large cities, lack of snow in the northern countries and so on.
I, myself, studied at the faculty of journalism. If we talk about journalism as an industry, we must always remember that this industry must be profitable. The income of any media is the sale of advertising or part of the content. This is a matter of economics, a matter of survival of the media. And this is a much more important issue than anything else.
What will happen in the future? What is my opinion? Only those media forms that are economically more profitable will remain – these are digital ones. But still, there will remain a part of society that prefers a printed product. Newspapers and magazines will remain. But it’s obvious that after the digital revolution we are experiencing, print media around the world will continue to reduce circulation and be more present online – because of greater economic efficiency and for the reasons of reducing cost. It’s obvious that digital media is much easier to survive than printed.”